BlackBerry DTEK50 review
The most secure Android smartphone
BlackBerry has created another fully android device,the BlackBerry DTEK50, with access to more than one million apps. This smartphone is BlackBerry’s best so far and is the world’s most secure Android smartphone.
Design - Full HD display
The BlackBerry DTEK50 has a 5.2” Full HD display, which gives us a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (1080p), equating to 424 pixels per inch. The display performs well with True Colour 24-bit colour depth and 16 million colours. The screen has a 16:9 ratio but more importantly, it is scratch and fingerprint resistant.
The front is rather bland in design, with only the speaker and microphone grills adding interest. It is a different story on the back however, with a patterned back cover and the same speaker and microphone grills, which together offer unmuffled sound, no matter which way up the phone is placed onto a surface.
The weight of 135g makes this BlackBerry smartphone one of the lightest on the market and the 7.4mm thick body also makes it one of the thinnest. Even though the DTEK50 is light and thin, it still has a 16GB internal memory and a hot-swappable microSD slot, that supports cards with a value of up to 2TB.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5GHz 64-bit octa-core processor with 3GB RAM again performs well and is quite capable of handling 3D gaming and multitasking.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Content and convenience
It is pretty easy to get the photos, videos and contacts transferred over from an old smartphone. The BlackBerry Content Transfer™ feature can pull all of this content and more from phones that use Android 4.0 or later, iOS 7 or later, BlackBerry 7 or BlackBerry 10.
After transferring any important content over to the BlackBerry DTEK50, it is time to set up a series of features that have been designed to offer convenience. First up is the BlackBerry Password Keeper™ that allows the user to have one password to rule them all, meaning that in the future users will only need to remember the one password or log-in.
The BlackBerry Convenience Key™ is located on the side of the phone and this can be customised to open apps or perform tasks, such as muting the microphone during a call. It is also well worth setting up BlackBerry Hub, which consolidates emails, SMS, notifications, calender items, calling logs and social notifications into one app.
Notifications appear on the screen when in use and when not, pending notifications are highlighted with a white LED indicator.
BlackBerry Pop-up Widgets™
One of the best new features that the BlackBerry DTEK50 delivers is BlackBerry Pop-up Widgets™. On a traditional Android smartphone widgets can take up a lot of space, limiting them in number on the home screen.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 overcomes this space-saving problem by using pop-up widgets, which appear when the user swipes up or down over an app icon. The most important widgets can still be pinned onto the home screen if desired, but BlackBerry Pop-up Widgets™ provides a nice solution for the rest.
BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard™
The BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard™ is a virtual learning keyboard that will prompt the user with more accurate word suggestions over time. The keyboard can use three languages at once and this is assisted by contextual auto-correction.
The user can type using screen flick typing or seamless flow typing. Screen flick typing sees word suggestions appear between the rows of letters, while flow typing allows the user to slide their finger from one letter to the next, without lifting the finger off the screen. Words suggests when using flow typing appear above the keyboard.
BlackBerry and Android apps
The BlackBerry DTEK50 offers the best of both worlds for those who decide to purchase one, with apps from Google and BlackBerry.
Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system brings with it a portfolio of apps that includes Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts, Chrome, Messenger, Google Play, Google Photos, the Google Now assistant and Now on Tap.
BlackBerry has pre-loaded its own apps to compliment these and these includes BlackBerry Device Search™, BlackBerry Calender™, Notes by BlackBerry™, Tasks by BlackBerry™, BBM™ and the BlackBerry Launcher™.
The BlackBerry world class security software has been designed to monitor the background operations of apps and the operating system. Any erroneous actions that happen in the background are reported to the user, who is then advised on what action to take.
The security software looks for suspicious actions, such as someone or an app using the camera or microphone without the user’s knowledge, attempts to send malicious SMS and attempts to access the phone’s contacts or location.
For an instant snapshot of the device’s security status, a graphic can be viewed that shows as either red, yellow green, corresponding to either poor, fair or excellent security. Below this graphic are recommended actions that user should take to bring security back to 100%.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 also prevents attempts to steel banking details through a NFC ‘bump’. It does this by encrypting this type of data. The world class security status that BlackBerry mentions is achieved through providing security patches quicker than any other mobile phone manufacturer.
Camera & Video
The 13MP camera has a resolution that is fine enough to satisfy any budding smartphone photographer and the camera offers both continuous and touch to focus. The focus is fast, using Phase Detect Auto Focus and fast focus lock.
Photography is aided by camera features such as HDR, a dual-tone LED flash, 4x digital zoom, enhanced photo colour balancing, burst shot, live filters and multi-frame low-light enhancements.
The 8MP selfie camera has an 84-degrees wide-angle lens and has features such as Wide Selfie Panorama, live colour filters and video and image stabilisation. Both cameras can record video at 30 frames per second at a quality of 1080p Full HD.
Power and charging
The 2,610mAh non-removable battery can be fast charged in 51 minutes to 50 percent capacity. Overall, the battery performs well and typically offers 17 hours of mixed usage. Individually, users can expect to get up to 24 days standby, 17 hours talk time, 8 hours of video playback or up to 40 hours of music playback.
Final thoughts: The BlackBerry DTEK50 has its own innovations, such as pop-up widgets, to create the same level of interest as features like iris scanning, as seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Overall, this is an Android smartphone that you should buy and BlackBerry’s quirkiness brings life to the experience that many other Android smartphones do not.
Written by: Michael Brown